a different side of Israel

Tag: Sarah Netanyahu

The Wicked Witch of Caesaria

A former housekeeper has filed a lawsuit accusing the Israeli prime minister’s wife of abusing her.
Lillian Peretz, who worked as the Netanyahu’s housekeeper at their beachside home in the town of Caesaria for six years, claims that Sara Netanyahu verbally abused her and forced her to change clothes and shower several times a day to maintain a “sterile” environment. It also alleges that she was paid less than minimum wage and forced to work on the Jewish Sabbath despite the fact that she is an observant Jew.
The prime minister’s office claimed that the lawsuit is “false and full of lies and defamation” and that the housekeeper is part of a media-orchestrated political conspiracy.
Peretz is asking for about $80,000 in the lawsuit filed last week and publicized on Friday in the Yediot Ahronot daily.
Sara Netanyahu, a former flight attendant who is now a practicing psychologist, also got attention during her husband’s first term as prime minister from 1996 to 1999. She came under fire for squabbling with her staff, flaunting her young children in public and meddling in state affairs. Among these scandals, she was accused of firing a nanny for burning a pot of soup and of throwing a pair of shoes at an assistant.
According to the lawsuit, Sara Netanyahu

“like in the story of Cinderella, burdened her (Peretz) with impossible chores, tyrannized her and screamed to the point of terror.”

The lawsuit also alleges that Peretz was not allowed to drink the family’s bottled water, only tap water.
The Netanyahu’s dismissed the allegations, saying that Peretz had warm and loving treatment in the home. They produced pictures of the two women embracing, a copy of Peretz’s letter of resignation, signed

“with lots of love and appreciation,”

and a newspaper clipping of Peretz expressing her love for Sara Netanyahu.

Bibi gets a C on first 100 days in office

Prime Minister Binyamin (Bibi) Netanyahu has just completed his first 100 days in office, and judging on who’s score card you’re looking at, Netanyahu’s second go-around as Israel’s head of government hasn’t been very exciting – so far at least. The right-of-center Likud Party chairman and “spin-master” for creating his version of shaping future events in Israel and the Middle East, has overall not been given high marks by those who have rated his performance to date – including fellow right-wingers who expected something more concrete from the man who’s election campaign rhetoric spoke of much higher ideals and agendas than what has been demonstrated so far by him. Netanyahu’s recent trip to Washington, and his meeting with US President Barack Obama, did not turn out to be what he had hoped; and Bibi’s wife Sarah Netanyahu was completely snubbed by Obama’s wife, Michelle.

Bibi meeting Obama - check out the body language..Although Bibi finally did agree to the “two states for two peoples” idea, and to follow the road map that had originally been put forward by the Americans during the Bush Administration, the idea of a Palestinian State alongside Israel did not turn out to be positive enough for the Palestinians to accept outright (the West Bank Palestinians, that is – forget about the Hamas ones in Gaza) and was too “concession minded” to be accepted by most Likud party members, as well as other right-winged Israelis.

Trying of set right the economy, with the help of Bibi’s good friend Yuval Steinitz, who the Prime Minster chose to be his finance minister, has not worked well at all; and several proposed economic reforms had to be either canceled or altered following strong protests by the general public. What finally did get drafted appears to have been less than beneficial to those sections of Israeli society who are now the worst off in the current world economic slow down. Although he did succeed in getting a 2 year budget draft passed, his ‘flip-flopping’ on a number of financial issues was in sharp contrast to promises he made during the recent campaign. A good example of economic mind changing was in regard to first imposing then canceling the VAT on fruits and vegetables. His greatest critics have been Tzipi Livni and her Kadima Party, now in opposition.

And finally, there are the two prominent issues of the Iran nuclear problem (to attack or not to attack – that is the question) and the one dealing with captured Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit, for whose release Netanyahu had said would be the government’s top priority. This too has so far turned out to be “all show and no go” as the “separation” between Israel and Hamas is still too wide. “The Israelis dwelled too much on who would be released in the exchange and who would not; and this in the end killed the deal” said Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who had tried to lend a hand in broking the latest negotiations to free Schalit. This means that Schalit’s father, Noam, will most likely give bitter remarks about Netanyahu as a leader, as he did concerning the previous prime minister, Ehud Olmert.

So taking all of the above into account, the Prime Minister only gets a C on his First Quarter report card.

Disappointing two days in Washington

Bibi and ObamaNo sooner did Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu go off to Washington, a Hamas fired rocket hit a residence in the town of Sderot, the first in over two months. One woman was lightly injured when the rocket slammed into a storeroom in her back yard damaging it and her home as well. She was taken to Ashkelon’s Barzelai Hospital for treatment, and some other people were treated locally for shock. Later on, Israeli Air Force planes attacked targets in Gaza in retaliation, including areas in the Philidelphi corridor where suspected smuggling tunnels might be located.

Coincidentally, Noam Schalit, father of captured Israeli solder Gilad Schalit, was touring the town together with Rome Italy mayor Gianni Alemanno. Schalit said that he “doesn’t envy Sderot residents” and both men wished that the town would be spared further attacks. Schalit said he is “waiting patiently to receive good news regarding his son’s release.

It seems like nothing ever fails to cause problems when a prime minister is away, especially when going to try to get assistance from the new U.S. president regarding even greater dangers in the region, the Iranian nuclear weapons program. At the conclusion of Netanyahu’s visit with President Obama, the Israeli prime minister appeared to come out on the short end with Obama pressuring Netanyahu to freeze the building of new settlements in the West Bank as well as to start preparing for a two state solution. Obama did confirm that his plan includes making sure that a new Palestinian state would be de-militarized and that it would not be allowed to ally itself with countries that are in a state of war with Israel. How this plan would work in actuality is up to speculation, especially due to the radical Hamas faction (not so far included in this plan) being friendly with both Iran and the Hezbollah party in Lebanon, also said to be virtual proxies of the Iranians.

For his part, Netanyahu promised the President that Israel would not attack Iran, after receiving the President’s assurances that his administration “will not allow Iran to become a nuclear power”. How that is going to be guaranteed is also very much up in the air, especially with Iranian president Ahmadinejad announcing the successful launching Wednesday of a new 2,000 km range missile

Meanwhile, American CIA chief Leon Panetta was quoted as saying that if Israel tries to go it alone in regards to attacking Iran, “it will be in big trouble”; especially since such an attack is virtually impossible without some form of coordination with the U.S. and other countries. Panetta added that his country “has the US government’s full attention” and that the last thing the US wants to see is a “Middle East nuclear arms race”.

It appears that Bibi wasn’t the only one benefiting from the trip, as his wife Sara didn’t have a formal meeting with Michelle Obama. Oh well, maybe Sara got to go to the malls.

Washington not dealing with “Israeli interests”

Washington not dealing with Israeli interestsIsraeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s visit with U.S. President Barack Obama is only hours away, and already numerous commentaries are trying to predict what the two men will talk about when they meet today in the White House. Bibi Netanyahu’s wife, Sarah, will also have the opportunity to chat with Michelle Obama, who herself is an outspoken individual who even the President is aware of. Netanyahu has a lot to talk to Obama about, especially in regards to Israel’s future relations with a likely State of Palestine; and how to deal with the possibility of a nuclear Iran.

This will be Netanyahu’s first visit with Obama as prime minister, although he did meet Obama briefly last summer in Israel when Obama was campaigning for the U.S. presidency. We all remember how that went when Obama gave a speech in the beleaguered town of Sderot; while the town’s mayor, Eli Moyal, was pushed to the background. Sderot had been under intense bombardment by Palestinian launched Kassam rockets, and Obama went there to show his support; which really turned into a photo-op for the then U.S. Senator.

Bibi will find that his American host has his own ideas as to how things should be handled in the Middle East, and what Israel should expect from her American ally, now that a new administration is running things in Washington. For one thing, American will not be so keen on accepting everything that Netanyahu is in favor of; especially in regards to the future of the West Bank, where the proposed State of Palestine will be situated (the future of Gaze is still to be worked out). The Palestinians want all the things that they would be entitled to as a sovereign nation, including their own military forces. Netanyahu is not at all in favor of this and will try to convince Obama to be in favor of neutrality for any future Palestinian state, similar to countries like Austria and Switzerland. Other issues like the “law of return” for Palestinians to Israel is also a sensitive issue; and differences on this topic between the U.S. and Israel are already well known.

Finally, the Iranian issue with certainly be talked about, and it’s certain that Obama will caution Bibi against doing anything foolish like launching an air attack against Iran’s nuclear installations without U.S. knowledge and approval.

Judging from Bibi’s last visit to Washington as prime minister, during the Wye Plantation peace negotiations with then P.A. Chairman Yassir Arafat in October, 1998, it might be wise for Sarah Netanyahu to maintain a low profile, as she definitely didn’t contribute to that visit in a positive manner. Bibi will have enough trouble concentrating on his own PR image, rather than trying to keep Sarah on a short leash.

Or, just turn her loose in an upscale DC mall with some credit cards while he “shops” for other stuff at the White House.

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